How Cool Is This: The Telemeeting

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Earlier I fretted about missing meetings while I am temporarily homebound. But here I am, watching a PowerPoint presentation on my computer via Microsoft Office Live Meeting. It’s an hour-long teleconference being given by the Brookings Institution to teach reporters how to mine Census Bureau numbers for stories.

This is great! As I listen to the presenter, D’vera Cohn of the Washington Post, explaining data points on my speaker phone, I’m a) blogging; b) sending e-mail to a colleague in Beijing; c) eating an over-ripe banana.

I couldn’t do that live. Well, I could, but the banana kind of smells and would annoy the other reporters.

Of course, workers have been attending virtual meetings for years. Some workplaces are taking this way further. At Leo Burnett, the ad agency, workers have virtual counterparts called avatars who can attend meetings in cyberspace, according to this piece in the Wall Street Journal.

Check out the picture of the worker guy and his avatar, though. I’d be pissed if my avatar was so ugly.